Boris Johnson’s father Stanley Johnson has told Extinction Rebellion protesters it was a “tremendous compliment” for them to be called “uncooperative crusties” by his son.
The Prime Minister used the term to refer to the demonstrators after they held up traffic in London as part of a two-week protest, and called on them to abandon their “hemp-smelling bivouacs”.
But speaking in Trafalgar Square today, Mr Johnson said his son’s comments were made “in humour” and Extinction Rebellion was a “very important movement”.
“I'm showing up here because I think what they [Extinction Rebellion] are doing is tremendously important. From tiny acorns, big movements spring,” he said.
“This is a movement, it is a very important movement. It is absolutely clear to me that we have been moving far too slowly on the climate change issue.”
The former Conservative MEP paid tribute to teenage environmental activist Greta Thunberg, and said the whole Johnson family was united on climate change.
“As far as climate change is concerned the family dynamic would be totally united. I don't believe there is a single dissenting voice in the Johnson family.
“Don't forget we grew up in the country, we grew up on Exmoor, nature is in our blood.”
Meanwhile, hundreds of police officers have been drafted in from across England and Wales to manage the central London protests.
Demonstrators have shut down roads around Parliament and Whitehall and nearly 600 people have been arrested so far.